On December 8, 2011, the Cluster of Excellence “Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat) and chemical company BASF SE signed a cooperation agreement establishing a new joint lab dedicated to the development of new catalytic processes for raw material change. The move promotes the search for alternatives to petroleum, in particular the use of natural gas. The long term goal is to ensure the continued future availability of raw materials for the production of chemicals.
Swimsuits, yogurt tubs and sunscreen have one thing in common: chemically, they all have their origins in petroleum. Petroleum prices are set to rise continuously in the coming years as supplies dwindle. Natural gas is a promising alternative – but before it can be processed into fibers, plastics and pigments, it first needs to undergo chemical reactions to convert it to basic chemicals. Catalysis increases the reaction capacity of the main component of natural gas, methane. About 80% of all chemical products today are manufactured using heterogeneous catalysts. Catalysts help to save energy and raw materials on a sustainable basis. The joint lab is intended to speed up the transfer of basic heterogeneous catalysis research results to industrial applications.
BASF SE and Technische Universität Berlin are putting substantial resources into setting up the UniCat-BASF Joint Lab. BASF plans to invest up to €6.4 million during the first five years. The total volume amounts to about €13 million. Twelve postdocs and postgrads will do research in the 900 square meter lab. Installation of equipment for catalyst synthesis, characterization and testing starts in January 2012.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Steinbach, President of TU Berlin, commented: “The UniCat-BASF Joint Lab will strengthen Campus Charlottenburg’s science base. The new lab is an important element in the latest round of the competition for excellence.”
Dr. Friedrich Seitz, head of the BASF Competence Center Chemicals Research and Engineering, stressed the alliance’s strategic importance: “Natural gas, carbon dioxide and biomass can replace petroleum as raw materials for the chemical industry in the future. Before that happens, a number of challenges remain to be solved. The UniCat-BASF Joint Lab helps us to pursue multidisciplinary approaches in catalysis for raw material change, especially when it comes to activating less reactive molecules,” he explained.
“The establishment of the ‚UniCat-BASF Joint Lab’ will bring the scientific results of our research alliance to fruition more quickly for industrial use,” said Prof. Dr. Matthias Drieß, chair ofthe UniCat Cluster of Excellence.
“The ‘UniCat-BASF Joint Lab’ not only creates new jobs, it also inspires new ideas for cooperative ventures with internationally leading companies in raw material change and sustainable chemistry,” commented undersecretary of state Dr. Knut Nevermann, Berlin Senate Department of Education, Youth Affairs and Science.
A number of UniCat teams have been instrumental in the success of the project. The “UniCat-BASF Joint Lab“ is to be assigned a steering committee made up of UniCat chair Prof. Dr. Matthias Drieß, Fritz Haber Institute representative Prof. Dr. Robert Schlögl, and the head of the BASF Competence Center Chemicals Research and Engineering, Dr. Friedrich Seitz.About UniCat
Stefanie Terp | idw
RUDN chemist tested a new nanocatalyst for obtaining hydrogen
18.10.2018 | RUDN University
Dandelion seeds reveal newly discovered form of natural flight
18.10.2018 | University of Edinburgh
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.
Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...
Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles
Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...
When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.
We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...
Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...
Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...
17.10.2018 | Event News
16.10.2018 | Event News
02.10.2018 | Event News
18.10.2018 | Life Sciences
18.10.2018 | Earth Sciences
18.10.2018 | Life Sciences